Worse Covid-19 numbers in Sabah soon, says state minister

(FMT) – The number of Covid-19 cases in Sabah will get worse in the coming days, a state minister said after a record high of 889 cases were reported in the state today.

Masidi Manjun, the state government spokesman on Covid-19, said the Kepayan prison cluster is expected to contribute to the worsening numbers.

The bulk of today’s cases (557) were in Kota Kinabalu, and Masidi said 434 of those cases were directly from Kepayan.

“That is 79% of the cases in KK alone. I expect and it is better I state earlier that the test results from other prisoners have yet to come in full. It is reasonable to assume there will be more positive cases from this cluster, which will subsequently contribute to the cases in KK and in Sabah overall,” he said at his daily media briefing today.

Masidi had previously said there were 2,700 inmates at the prison and all have been made to undergo swab tests. He also said that all inmates are screened for the virus prior to being sent to prisons in the state capital, Lahad Datu, Tawau and Sandakan.

Individuals who have been taken into custody would also be tested before being sent to lock-ups, he added.

Masidi said Tawau also recorded a high of 80 new cases, adding this was due to the results of samples that were sent for tests previously. The northern Kudat district is the third highest in the state with 40 new cases detected, he said.

“Thirty-three of these came from the Inai cluster. The health department has managed to locate everyone who attended a berinai (wedding) ceremony.”

Masidi said a total of 104 teachers and 242 students have been infected with the virus since March. “However, they were infected outside their schools.”

He added that five officers working at the temporary detention centre for undocumented migrants in Papar tested positive for Covid-19 today while 33 detainees from the centre have been screened and are awaiting test results.

He said health authorities have also detected a total of 1,352 Covid-19 cases in squatter settlements here and in Semporna.

To a claim by a news portal that a single food basket provided by the state government costs RM366, Masidi said this was untrue and clarified that each basket costs RM100.

“Yesterday, I stated that RM26.7 million had been channeled to the district offices for the purpose of food purchases, but this doesn’t mean that all the funds have been spent and all the food baskets have been distributed.

“As I reported daily, the distribution is still ongoing and the number of food baskets will grow on a daily basis,” he said, adding that 84,814 baskets have been given away as of today.